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SOCCER

Aspas, Veiga, Unai and Galán are on the preliminary list of Luis de la Fuente’s Spain squad

Four surprising players have passed the initial assessment of the new national coach and may feature in the upcoming squad list.

Update:
Four surprising players have passed the initial assessment of the new national coach and may feature in the upcoming squad list.
Juan Manuel Serrano ArceGetty Images

Celta’s great form has not gone unnoticed by the new national team head coach, Luis de la Fuente, who has included up to four Celta Vigo players on his preliminary shortlist for the upcoming qualifiers for Euro 2024 against Norway and Scotland next March.

The players are Iago Aspas, Gabri Veiga, Unai Núñez and Javi Galán, who are all on the coach’s radar to take part in the first call-up of the new era of the National Team.

Luis de la Fuente was named Spain National Team manager in December 2022.
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Luis de la Fuente was named Spain National Team manager in December 2022.JUAN CARLOS HIDALGOEFE

The name of Iago Aspas has always been the subject of debate in any conversation rearding the National Team and his absence was one of the main criticisms aimed at the previous head coach, Luis Enrique, whose departure as manager following the World Cup has reopened the door for the strikerr.

Aspas was a part of the last preliminary squad list before the World Cup, but his name did not feature among the 26 chosen to travel to Qatar. With four LaLiga top-Spanish-goalscorer trophies (the Zarra trophy) in his cabinet at home in Vigo, this year he is once again in the fight to be the best marksman. As of March 2023, he has nine goals and three assists in the league.

Another Celta player who was on the previous preliminary squad list was Gabri Veiga. On that occasion, his inclusion was one of the great surprises and was taken as a reward for his explosion into the elite level of football, although his options of going to Qatar were practically nil. Now, on the other hand, he is one of the favorites to be a part of the definitive list from De la Fuente.

At 20-years-old, he has burst onto the top table this season, in which he already has eight goals and three assists in the league, despite being a midfielder, putting him firmly amongst the top young talents of European football. De la Fuente was the coach who handed him his debut in the Under-21 last November.

Iago Aspas (Celta de Vigo)
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Iago Aspas is in fine form this season for Celta Vigo.Lalo R. VillarDIARIO AS

The La Rioja coach also knows Unai Núñez very well, the starting centre-back in the Spain Under-21 team that won the European championship in 2019 after defeating Germany. The defender is very much to the liking of the new coach and has asked for detailed reports on his performances.

De la Fuente was in San Sebastián on February 18 watching the match between Real Sociedad and Celta. There he was able to see all the players in action, Unai being one of the players he liked the most.

Unai Núñez already has international status regarding the National Team, having made his debut in September 2019, replacing Sergio Ramos. Robert Moreno was the coach who gave him a chance in the match played in Gijón against the Faroe Islands (4-0), bringing him on in the 84th minute of the game.

The Celta player who perhaps has the slimmest chance of making the final list is Javi Galán, as the competition on the left side of defence is very strong. However, the inclusion of the player from Badajoz on this list is a reward for his solid performances in the league, where he has stood out for his driving ability as a winger, first at Huesca and now at Celta.